Who’s looking after you?

One of the best decisions I made when I became self-employed over 15 years ago was to get a virtual PA. Their support has been absolutely invaluable.

Sometimes I joke that they know more about me than I know about myself, which is ironic for someone who works in personal and professional development.

Urban PA is the service I have been happy with for 15 years:

My virtual PA doesn’t blink an eyelid when I ask them to search for images to express; ‘sitting on the fence’ or ‘rabbit caught in headlights.’

Because of having a virtual PA, there are many things that I don’t do and things I do more because of their expert help.

Things I don’t do:
• Tasks I don’t like and don’t enjoy
• Wait in ‘customer care’ lines not feeling cared for listening to lift style musak
• Miss events I wanted to go to but didn’t know about
• Wait in for the plumber, electrician or delivery losing precious time
• Search for log-ins and passwords
• Feel frustrated/angry
• Get stressed

Things I do do:

• Tasks I enjoy and like
• Keep up to date with research and best practice
• Build thought leadership
• Work smart
• Think about/spend time on ‘important not urgent’ tasks
• Feel more authentic as a coach as I practice what I advocate
• Take a walk as I have the time
• Remember things I need to remember

Who are virtual PAs useful for?

• Time poor executives
• Contractors who work away a lot and who don’t want to come home to a pile of admin
• People who want to make the most of time and play to their strengths
• Self-employed who want back up and realise they can’t do it all

More and more people are becoming self-employed; working mums who seek flexibility, 50somethings who cannot get a job etc.

Being a virtual PA is also a fantastic flexible career choice for the many support staff who companies have shed to save money and whose traditional role technology is replacing.

Tips for choosing a virtual PA

There are generalist virtual PAs and specialist ones e.g. event management, social media etc. so make sure that you choose one that is right for your needs. Here are some tips:

• Write a list of tasks that steal your time and that you hate
• Write a list of things you would do if you had more time/ensure, e.g. switch banks, check you have the best deal with suppliers, find out about the latest trends and gadgets
• Do your research
• Ask for recommendations from your network
• Decide if you want ad hoc support or a regular subscription service
• Find the right fit – values, chemistry and tasks, e.g. if you want support to organise an event/party, choose a virtual PA who excels in that task, rather than filing

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